Tele column 2nd August 2019

Understandably there have been a lot of column inches given up to talking about the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. And no doubt as he blusters his way through interviews and negotiations there will be a lot more. But the problem isn’t just the Prime Minister, it extends to the company he keeps. His cabinet appointments say a great deal about him. The new Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has launched straight in to duplicitous rhetoric, claiming during a Channel 4 interview that he made it clear to voters during the Brexit campaign that they ran the risk of the UK leaving without a deal. There is no evidence in any archived media of Mr Raab warning explicitly about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit during the referendum campaign. The new Home Secretary, Priti Patel, previously held the position as international development secretary, a role she had said should be scrapped prior to her own appointment. She was forced to resign from the role of international development secretary because she held secret meetings with senior Israeli figures. She is firmly on the right of the Conservative and Unionist Party having voted against equal marriage and advocated to bring back the death penalty. Maybe most disturbing are her views on immigration. Ms Patel has stated “Free from the shackles of the EU – and an automatic right of entry for their citizens, with or without work – we will be able to give the type of preference to brilliant scientists, academics and highly skilled workers that we want to see more of.” Ironic since she was herself was an immigrant from Uganda fleeing persecution and finding a safe harbour in the UK. The heads of major government departments should be principled and trustworthy. Their behaviour and attitudes will be mirrored in their staff. I fear an already isolated UK government will become even more intransient and inward looking. Mr Johnson is not the only problem, he is just the guy on top of a bonfire of vanities.